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The Apprentice Storyteller

by Astrid V.J.

The Apprentice Storyteller - Astrid V.J.
Editions:Paperback - First Edition: $ 12.99
ISBN: 9198551973
Size: 5.25 x 8.00 in
Pages: 318
ePub: $ 4.99
ISBN: 978-91-985519-8-3

"Set amid an imaginative blend of sci-fi and fantasy, the novel’s fictional universe is vividly realized and will grab curious readers. The book works in thought-provoking themes that will further draw readers in." BookLife Prize

The Alchemist meets fantasy with a splash of space opera.
Viola Alerion, a renowned storyteller in the Haldrian Empire, wants to be left in peace. For years, she’s been hounded by her past, never to find a moment’s rest. Then she meets a boy who wants to become her apprentice. He refuses to take no for an answer, and she reluctantly yields, even though she knows taking him with her could endanger his life. As their journey progresses, Viola begins to understand she’s not the only teacher in the equation. The nameless boy also has something to teach, but Viola makes for a reluctant student.

Can she give way to possibility and embrace a future in alignment with what she’s always wanted? Can she find the courage to embrace the principles that will transform her life? Can she overcome her circumstances and face her past? Or will she keep on running with nowhere to hide?
And what of the boy who guards untold secrets and exhibits mysterious powers that defy belief?

Publisher: Purple Sword Publications
Tropes: Prophesy, Training, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 65 000
Setting: Planet Mshrali and Planet Téarman
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Tropes: Prophesy, Training, Wise Mentor
Word Count: 65 000
Setting: Planet Mshrali and Planet Téarman
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters

The boy glances out over the countryside. Something is different about the landscape. Although the same flat expanse stretches out before him, dotted with bushes that reach between his knees and his
waist, there’s something odd about what he sees now compared to what he did several weeks ago. When this journey with Viola began, everything was either ochre or greyish-brown. Now the ground is off-colour with a purplish hue, and the plants have bright green veins popping out of their leaves. A shiver crawls down his spine.

“Did I tell you to stop?” Viola’s sharp voice cuts into his thoughts.

“No, Master. Apologies!”

“Start from the beginning. Don’t get distracted, boy.”


He nods, wiping sweat from his brow, and recounts the tale Viola has been teaching him. Every evening she recites a short story or a segment of a longer one. Over the course of every day, he’s expected to repeat it, bearing with her never-ending corrections until he can reproduce it flawlessly. On this afternoon, he recounts
The Sewing Princess. Most of the tales capture his attention, but this one doesn’t, and he struggles to bring it to life the way Viola does.

At length, she exclaims, “Of all the confounded fools! What was I thinking when I agreed to teach you?”

She’s irritable, and he feels responsible. “I’m sorry, Master. I just don’t get this one. It makes no sense. What is it about?”

“What do you mean? What does that have to do with your ability to recount it?”

“When I don’t understand something, I can’t get behind it, and you can hear I’m not into this one. Maybe another will be better?”

“Oh? So, are you ready to give up?”

He frowns. “No! It might just be easier with a different tale.”

“Did you choose to become a storyteller because you think it is easy?” her voice is deadly.

“No, I didn’t mean it like that.” He pauses, assessing the intensity of her displeasure and then adds, “I’m sorry, Master. I’ll keep trying until I get it right.” Her only reply is a grunt. He continues with a soft, “Thank you, Master,” in the hope of appeasing her.

Reviews:Rashun Carter on Amazon wrote:

I’d read book one of Astrid’s, Elisabeth and Edvard’s World Series, and I was very impressed with her style of writing. The Apprentice Storyteller—which is book one of her Wishmaster series—overstepped my initial impressions and left me in awe.

We shift between perspectives of a young boy, Jo, and the greatest storyteller known to the Haldrian Empire, Viola Alerion. Jo is instantly attracted to Viola’s magical tales and sets his sight on becoming her apprentice. However, Viola isn’t one to take another under her wing, especially a young boy that’s far too familiar with poverty. Jo soon finds out Viola has plenty of reason for her lone wolf nature, but his mysterious background just may give Viola answers in a way she never thought possible.

Viola and the boy’s polar opposite personalities make for a deeply intriguing read, especially when it came to their growing relationship and compelling character development throughout the book. Astrid’s unique talent of painting vivid pictures with words was thoroughly enjoyable, and she did an outstanding job in building a magical world tethered with realism.

My only real gripe is that the story came to an end lol but that’s the sort of book we all love to read, right? Overall, simply an amazing, immersive read that I highly recommend.

BookLife Prize on BookLife Prize Critics Report wrote:

Plot: The plot of The Apprentice Storyteller moves in a linear and even fashion. The plot is interspersed with enjoyable tales that support the setting and characterization by fleshing out the larger lore of the world. The book shows much promise for a continued series worth readers’ time.

Prose/Style: The novel features strong writing that enhances the tone and setting of the book with its consistency. The dialogue is engaging and distinguishes the characters, while action is depicted with kinesthetic language.

Originality: Set amid an imaginative blend of sci-fi and fantasy, the novel’s fictional universe is vividly realized and will grab curious readers. The book works in thought-provoking themes that will further draw readers in.

Character Development: The relationship between master and apprentice lies at the center of the book’s heart. Their interactions and vulnerabilities create a touching experience for the reader that adds gravity to the plot’s conflicts.

M.L. Broome on Amazon wrote:

Word painting. It is a talent that all authors pursue, but few ever accomplish. Astrid is a master word painter. In the matter of a few short sentences, you abandon the doldrums of your daily life and cross the threshold into the world of her creation.

But it’s more than just vivid scenery. So much more. Her characters breathe with their own life, bolstered by peccadilloes and emotions that evoke those same feelings from your own soul.

Our hero is a small boy, without home or family, but what he lacks in creature comforts, he makes up for in faith. Despite his pitiful existence, he believes fully in destiny. As he said himself, “it’s by knowing things that I survive.”

Viola is worn and weary from a world that doesn’t often play fair. She abides by the motto—kill or be killed. It’s not a preference. It’s a necessity...until her apprentice teaches her that there is more power in innocence and respect than there will ever be in all the weapons in the worlds. She has a choice—discard the boy and his foreign ideals or open herself up to the idea that this frail creature might open her heart up to limitless possibilities.

Once again, Astrid has woven lessons into the layers of story with skilled precision. Each chapter will leave you thinking—not only about the remainder of this story, but your very outlook on life.

Ilona Nurmela on Amazon wrote:

This is the book I like most out of the ones I’ve read so far by this author. A woman on the run reluctantly pairing up with a boy too wise for his age definitely reminded me of Star Wars - if Leia’s parents had never approved of her rebelling. What you end up after reading this story is a feeling - quiet contemplation combined with hope. Different bits of the book will speak out to different people - the themes of loneliness and being shunned for not doing the expected, the wavering resolve of even the strongest of us needing buttressing from the most downtrodden, the magic, the fight scenes, the famous by association themes. The book is a journey where every writer will recognise finding their feet, like Viola who chose her gift and became the most fabled storyteller, although her family destined her for something else. I loved the flow of the story, the dialogue, the Sheherezade-like interludes of stories from a different kind of lore. If you love Coelho’s books, this one will definitely make you think. And feel. And yearn. The spaceships and jumping from one planet to another will appeal to Star Wars fans and the fans of Cloud Atlas, alike. Totally recommend for lovers of speculative fiction, space operas, transformational fiction and fiction in general.

About the Author

I am a USA Today Bestselling and Literary Classics award-winning author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach. I grew up in South Africa and currently live in Malmö, Sweden (after having lived in many exciting and interesting places). I live with my husband and our two children.

My South African-German heritage and the experiences of living and integrating into other societies have given me a great deal to think about and process. The training in anthropology has given me the tools to think beyond simple stereotypes and ideological explanations of social interaction while the understanding I have of human potential underlying my certification as a transformational life coach allows me to see what is possible and to appreciate the human capacity to achieve success in the face of adversity.

My parents instilled in me a love for books, and the natural world that we inhabit. This love has led to a deep appreciation of the written word and the desire to contribute as much as I can towards improving the state of the world. I would like to use my expertise and passion for cultures to help us move forward.

I write transformation fiction: incorporating transformation principles in novels, rather than writing another self-help book. This is more than Up-lit. My books are intended to be uplifting, but also to provoke thought and help people question the situations they find themselves in, and to identify how they themselves can transcend their circumstances. I am very much interested in minority group questions, considerations on social standards of beauty and the negative consequences these have, and would like to make the fantasy genre accessible to people of non-white, non-Western backgrounds. I feel the fantasy genre has become too restrictive with limited representations of race, ethnicity, and culture, and I seek to explore other paths on this writing journey, incorporating my background in anthropology and psychology to create engaging experiences which also provide food for thought on the diverse topics

I find most important, such as racism, minority rights, cultural diversity, culture change, intolerance, humanity’s environmental impact and much more.

Elisabeth & Edvard: The Siblings' Tale is my debut fantasy duology. I share many of my insights and truly hope it will inspire a generation of indomitable change-makers to work together to correct some of the major social problems this current century brings with it.

Currently published:

Elisabeth and Edvard's World series, a collection of stand-alone novel-length retellings of lesser-known fairytales including: The Siblings' Tale duology, Gisela's Passion, Naiya's Wish, Johara's Choice

The Wordmage's Tales series, a collection of stand-alone novellas, each an invented fairytale for modern sensibilities, including: The Companion's Tale, The Sewing Princess (exclusive to my newsletter), The Artist and His Muse, The Last Warrior, Warring Lions, The Destitute Countess, Silvana's Trial, Dragons' Daughter.

The Wishmaster series, a futuristic fantasy series on an epic, intergalactic scale. The Apprentice Storyteller, Finding the Way.